Fresh action against LeT chief Hafiz Saeed to be discussed in US-India secretary-level talks

Hafiz Muhammad Saeed

Hafiz Muhammad Saeed

According to sources quoted in the Indian media, talks about possible further action against Hafiz Saeed – the head of the Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), would be discussed between U.S and Indian officials later this week.

Islamabad High Court Verdict on Milli Muslim League (MML)

The talks have been forced by a decision of Islamabad High Court to allow the registration of the Milli Muslim League (MML) that had been founded by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, as a legal political party. The court decision came on March 9.

A 2-plus-2 dialogue between India and the United State Secretaries

Indian foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale and defense secretary Sanjay Mitra are scheduled to meet their counterparts in Washington and the talks would be centered around Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and the court verdict said sources.  Officially, however, the visit of the two Secretaries to Washington for a period of three days beginning on Tuesday, is to iron out the modalities and the agenda for the so-called 2-plus-2 dialogue to be held later between defense ministers of India and the US. That meeting is scheduled a month later. The Indian defense minister and the foreign minister, along with the secretaries of the ministries were briefed about the forthcoming talks by the Indian Ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna, earlier this month.

 

Discuss Bilateral Co-operation on Terrorism-Related Designations

More is being planned by the two countries to take on terrorism. The two countries would also hold later this month, the second round of what is called the Designations Dialogue and described by the Indian external affairs ministry as a system designed to “discuss bilateral co-operation on terrorism-related designations” which was created last year.

New names of individuals or entities that Washington would want to designate as terrorists or terrorist organization would be discussed by the two countries in that meeting.

Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO)

The U.S. had designated as Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO) and specially designated global terrorist Hizbul Mujahideen and its emir Syed Salahuddin respectively last August. The announcement also carried appropriate sanctions. The U.S. has already banned Hafiz Saeed, LeT and Jamaat-ud-Dawa – which is the parent radical religious organization that was formed by Saeed.

The US wants Let Chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed to be put behind bars by Pakistan

Islamabad had been issued a demarche by the Trump administration after a Pakistan court released Hafiz Saeed last winter which had made Washington very concerned, said the Indian and US officials.  The U.S. administration has made it very clear that it desires that the LeT chief be put behind bars by Pakistan – primarily because there were 6 US nationals who were killed in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks which killed a total of 166 people. LeT was behind that attack.

Hotel Taj 26/11

Hotel Taj 26/11

The failure of Pakistan to undertake stringent legal steps against Saeed had made the U.S. quite concerned and this was communicated to Islamabad in January of this year, said Indian sources to the media. A $10 million bounty on Saeed’s head had been put by the US earlier.

 Afghanistan, Iran and the Maldives to be discussed 

Issues related to Afghanistan, Iran and the Maldives would also feature in the talks between the two secretaries. The Maldives would assume importance because of reports that the LeT is spreading its tentacles in this island nation. A detailed report about the more than 25 terrorist attacks in Jammu and Kashmir and the continued infiltration of the terrorists from Pakistan would also be presented to the U.S. in the secretary-level talks.

 

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